These are interesting times for news junkies as we watch the awareness of ordinary people throughout the world that they have the ultimate power for change in their lives.
Unions have long recognized this but I’m not talking of small organized groups demanding better working conditions but of the irresistible power of whole populations, workers, intellectuals, students, professionals all standing together to demand basic change.
As my old friend Bill Shakespeare wrote, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
We can add also the head that wears a keffiyeh or a braided military cap.
Throughout the Middle East and North Africa people are banding together and demanding their rights as human beings to adequate food, shelter, education and freedom of choice.
How quickly we forget that in our time ordinary people stood up and said enough is enough.
They toppled the whole Soviet empire in weeks. Countries from Germany to Hungary, Romania and Latvia, said no, no more.
The lesson from history is clear and yet we seem to forget that we are ruled over only by our consent.
Whether a dictatorship or a democracy, when we act in concert we can change the whole scene, our governments or our institutions.
If they only govern with our consent why don’t we use our power more often?
Our target does not have to be an earthshaking event, it can be anything that irks enough of us.
Over 50 years ago the women of Quebec were outraged with the soaring price of bacon. Quite spontaneously they boycotted the stuff and within weeks, the price settled back to normal.
I heard this morning that a baseball player in Toronto had signed a contract for 65 million dollars.
Is anyone naïve enough to believe the corporation will pay this exorbitant amount out of profits?
Of course not.
They will simply hike the price of seats, beer and popcorn to cover the cost.
In other words, old Joe Fan will again be the sucker.
Instead of complaining, fans should simply leave the stadium empty for a month or so. That would put a stop to the nonsense not only in Toronto but throughout the baseball, football, basketball, hockey and soccer leagues.
Back to more serious issues.
It’s clear that the Egyptian people have provided the world with the template for change, non-violent but united and determined.
This week the women of Italy are taking to the streets to demand the removal of their clownish Prime Minister and his antics.
They are embarrassed by him and are saying enough is enough, a phrase I believe we will hear often in the coming months.
We have more opportunity to enlist support for causes or campaigns that we imagine simply because most of us belong to a group or organization that provides a forum. It doesn’t matter if it’s a church, golf or curling club, a bridge or garden club.
These are all places where a movement can gather momentum.
In our own dear province enough of you signed the anti-HST petition to force the removal of a premier grown arrogant with time.
I did not sign the petition as I think the additional revenue is needed but I was offended by the bumbling (if not dishonest) way the HST was introduced.
Many of you did stand up and, for better or worse, you forced change.
Good for you, I say.
At the very least, the next premier will be a lot more respectful of the people.
In many countries I would be jailed for this column.
Harvey Dorval is a regular columnist for the Parskville Qualicum Beach News. He lives in Parksville.